Alumni Spotlight: John Pomeroy


Theatre Newsletter | December 2021

It is hard to imagine what the St. Ambrose University Theatre Department was like before our current staff members took over, but former student and professor John Pomeroy ‘88, a native to the Quad Cities, started out his career here at St. Ambrose in the 1980s and helped shape our department into what it is today.

Now as the Technical Director and Chair of the Theatre Department at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, he looks back fondly on his St. Ambrose years, and credits this institution with helping him discover technical directing and his passion for teaching theatre.

Pomeroy started classes at St. Ambrose University in 1981 and it was not his original plan to go for a theatre career.

"It wasn't my intention when I started at St. Ambrose to major in theatre," admitted Pomeroy. "I wanted to major in Radio and TV Production so I did a lot of work with Duke [Schnieder], and then I was intending to double major with theatre, just because I could. But I got into a bit of trouble from an academic advising standpoint and I realized that I had earned more theatre credits than I had Radio and TV Production credits."

Pomeroy graduated in 1988 because it took seven years to obtain his bachelor's degree, but during those years he was not only a student, but the Technical Director on campus. In fact, he would stay on as the Technical Director until 1991 and it was during this time that he caught the "teaching bug." One of the professors had to leave school and go back home for some time at the last minute because of a family emergency. However, classes still needed to go on so Pomeroy was selected to carry out this duty.

"After that, I realized that teaching at the collegiate level was something that I wanted to do," Pomeroy said. "So I resigned my position and moved to Iowa City to join the master's program at the University of Iowa."

john pomeroy in london

John Pomeroy

Class of 1988

Currently Pomeroy is the Technical Director for the Drake University Theatre Department.

After obtaining his master's degree in 1993, he found himself in search of a job and after some help from a friend he met at the Circa ‘21 Playhouse, he wound up with a position as a professor and the Technical Director at Drake, and he has stayed there ever since. He now teaches a load of classes each semester, runs the scene shop every afternoon, and serves as the Technical Director for both the Drake University Theatre Department and The School of Fine Arts.

Now that he has been working as a professor for several years, Pomeroy looks back on his St. Ambrose days and is truly thankful for nudging him into this career.

"First and foremost I am an educator," he said. "It was the faculty that I got to work with at St. Ambrose – both as student and later as a colleague – that showed me that the teaching profession is really worthwhile. I got to see what kind of relationship can happen between a student and a professor and how that can benefit the student if the professor cares about growing them as people. The biggest motivators for me to be doing what I am doing today are Duke Scheider, Cory Johnson, Kris Eitrheim, Mike Kennedy, the people at St. Ambrose who stuck with me."

Pomeroy's story is undoubtedly amazing because his work in our Theatre Department helped shape it into what it is today. Plus, he serves as a fantastic role model for us St. Ambrose students because he found a line of work that truly makes him happy. We consider Drake University to be extremely lucky to have him on board and we are proud to call him a St. Ambrose University alumni.


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